Gas Prices Fuel More Bad Reporting

     Misinformation continues to flow about supposed “record high” gas prices. Over the holiday weekend, the national average for gas rose to a little more than $3, still below the inflation-adjusted record of $3.11 set nearly 20 years ago.     That didn’t stop “The Early Show” on CBS from claiming a record-high $3.20 national average for regular unleaded gasoline. On the September 6 broadcast, both Julie Chen and Hannah Storm made the same incorrect claim.      According to Chen, “The huge hit Hurricane Katrina put on the area helped send gas prices shooting up 75 cents to an average of $3.20 a gallon.” Storm went even further claiming that the numbers she was citing came from AAA. “Since the storm hit, almost 70 percent of normal oil production has been shut down. And that, of course, has had a dramatic effect on gas prices. According to AAA, gas has gone up 75 cents. That puts the average cost of regular unleaded at $3.20 a gallon,” explained Storm.     But AAA’s own Web site disagrees. According to the Daily Fuel Gauge Report, the recent high was recorded on Labor Day at $3.057 or $3.06. The national average actually fell the following day to $3.041.      The confusion over the price change might have originated with an Associated Press story that was sent out September 5. According to the Aleksandrs Rozens piece, “Drivers paid an average of about $3.20 a gallon for unleaded regular on Monday, up $1.35 from a year ago, and 75 cents more than they did before the hurricane, according to Randy Bly, director of community relations for AAA Auto Club South.” However, according to AAA’s Justin McNaull, the high still is $3.057.